The Messenger - Serving Gislingham, Mellis and the Thornhams

Nature Notes - May 2020

Date: 20 May 2020

As nature lovers, I’m sure that we all find this to be frustrating, especially at this time of year when Spring is all around us and there are lots of places we’d like to visit and enjoy. However, this is one of those times when the greater good has to take priority and our thoughts are with our medical staff, all key workers and, of course, those who have lost loved ones.

Living in our villages we are blessed to have the countryside all around us and be able to take our exercise in such pleasant surroundings, perhaps meeting others en-route and exchanging a greeting - at a safe distance of course! The backdrop to our predicament is that the natural world continues as usual and we see the birds pairing up whilst the new butterfly season is now well underway. For those of us fortunate to have gardens, we can enjoy this at close quarters and the photographs I’m including this month were all taken in our garden in March and April this year.

Our pond has come to life again although so far this year I’ve yet to spot my favourite amphibian, the common newt. The pond has attached a couple of Moorhens and it’s fun to see them strutting about the place with their enormous feet. I remember once watching some Moorhen chicks swimming across a pond with amazing speed - their tiny lightweight bodies being propelled by their disproportionately large feet! In the space of just a week we’ve had five kinds of butterfly in the garden: a couple of Commas, lots of Peacocks and Orange Tips, a Brimstone and Holly Blue.


I love the Orange Tips and it’s pleasing to see them return to the same Honesty plants year after year. Other butterflies to watch out for now in the garden include Green Veined White and Small Tortoiseshell. It’s been busy on the bird feeders too with all our favourites putting in an appearance, including Long Tail Tits and Coal Tits. That said, things have quietened down a little over the past week or so - perhaps because the birds have other things on their minds at this time of year! No doubt there’ll be a rush on when they’ve youngsters to feed! We’ve also seen “evidence” of hedgehogs on our lawn (you know what I mean!) but we’re not as lucky as Marion & Glyn who have no less than 3 residents in what has become their Hedgehog Hotel! Looking beyond the garden’s boundaries I’ve seen our resident Egret flying over the stream behind Mill Street and one morning a Red Kite flew overhead - it did look magnificent as it twisted and turned, catching the sunlight on its underbody as it did so.